Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm and others share Zuckerberg’s vision to bring 5bn more people online

21 Aug 2013

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Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Ericsson and Opera are the first technology giants to joint internet.org, a global partnership with the goal of making Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of bringing the next 5bn people online with the help of free basic internet access.

Overnight Zuckerberg revealed his “rough plan” to bring the next 5bn people online.

He said internet connectivity should be a human right and urged telcos to develop a model where basic internet services like weather, messaging and information should be free to access.

Zuckerberg pointed out that there are currently 2.7bn people on Earth online, one-third of the world’s population, and that this is growing by 9pc each year. But this is slow considering how early it is in the internet’s development.

He called for the provision of free access to basic internet services in a way that enables everyone with a phone to get on the internet and join the knowledge economy – while at the same time enabling the telecoms industry to continue to grow profits and build out infrastructure.

“Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect,” Zuckerberg said.

“There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.”

‘Universal internet access will be the next great industrial revolution’

The founding members of internet.org – Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung – will develop joint projects, share knowledge, and mobilise industry and governments to bring the world online.

These founding companies have a long history of working closely with mobile operators and expect them to play leading roles within the initiative, which over time will also include NGOs, academics and experts, as well.

Internet.org is influenced by the successful Open Compute Project, an industry-wide initiative that has lowered the costs of cloud computing by making hardware designs more efficient and innovative.

“This new initiative has big potential to help accelerate access to the internet for everyone,” said JK Shin, CEO and president of the IT and Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics. “We’re focused on delivering high quality mobile devices to ensure that the next 5bn people have great mobile internet experiences.”

“Nokia is deeply passionate about connecting people – to one another and the world around them,” said Nokia president and CEO Stephen Elop.

“Over the years, Nokia has connected well over a billion people. Our industry is now at an exciting inflection point where internet connectivity is becoming more affordable and efficient for consumers while still offering them great experiences. Universal internet access will be the next great industrial revolution.”

Native Masai tribesman with mobile phone image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com